1- I am from Hijaz, Saudi Arabia.
2- I am currently studying in the US & fully legal.
3- Since I am an alien (according to the law), I am allowed to make grammatical mistakes and endless run-ons.
4- I do pick sides and call them "educated opinions." (I am pro-choice).
5- I believe that the number one worst export of America is "McDonalds", best export, on the other hand, is "Individualism". 6- I am becoming more cynical and less optimistic by the day (Need a cure). 7- I can’t tolerate irrelevance.
what happens when a Saudi woman adds her face to facebook? You would think it is a normal thing to do. Think twice & then go ahead and read Aysha Alkusayer, a new and
promising Saudi blogger who is blogging from Portland (one of my favorite
US cities), account on this huge deal in a culture that forbids a woman's face and considers it a shame.
I would like to thank Ahmed for including my blog in his list (where he rightly describe it as angry) and for introducing me and other readers to Saudi blogs of note.
Also, Usama Hussain's article about Saudi blogs is out: A new
voice in conservative Arabia. The article sheds light on the diversity Saudi bloggers opinions and their struggle to be heard in a country where free speech is limited and controlled by state owned media.
The local English daily Arabnews
is reporting that King Abdullah will be addressing the Saudi Shura Council tomorrow. John
Burgess brings the attention to recent speculations of a major policy
announcement: "Over the past couple of months, the rumor mill has been
running at full speed about the pending announcement of major changes in Saudi
law and governance."
RIYADH, 13 April 2007 — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah will
deliver a speech at the Shoura Council tomorrow in which he is expected to
mention the Kingdom’s internal and external strategies for the coming year.
President of the Shoura Council Sheikh Saleh Bin-Humaid described the speech to
be “constitutional.” He added that it in addition to it reflecting the Kingdom’s
strategies, it would also touch on new developments in the Kingdom over the
Just 11 days ago,
members of the constitutional reform movement in Saudi Arabia(دعاة الإصلاح المدني و الدستوري) sent the king their
latest petition which outlines their reform vision and detailed proposals, معالم في طريق الملكية الدستورية/ دولة الدستور
الإسلامي/ دولة العدلوالشور (Arabic).
Some of this petition's framers and signatories were
arbitrarily arrested in February based on mostly contested
and fabricated accusations. King Abdullah has on certain occasions met with
some of the reformists and promised them change. So let's wait and see.
I started reading Rasheed Abou-Alsamh’s new article, Saudis cling to
outlet for free expression, I initially felt that he is writing about some
godforsaken Latin country ruled by a military dictatorship and the secret
police that I read about long time ago in a history book, then, I felt like
breaking something, anything:
For 14 years she has
been gathering with some 150 other female Saudi academics for monthly diwaniyas,
or salons. At the home of one of the group's members in Riyadh, the
Saudi capital, they talked about the issues of the day: the plight of
Saudi women, elections, civil society, and domestic violence.
But now the professor
worries that the government is beginning to stifle her salon and others,
further backing away from making substantial reforms.
These discussion groups,
which have been growing in number in recent years, are among the only outlets
for collective expression in a country
where public gatherings and political parties are banned.
She says she received a
troubling call from a government official a few weeks ago asking her to
register the group with the Ministry of Interior or face police action against
her group. "The official kept calling me, but I said I would not believe
what he was saying unless he could send me something in writing," recalls
the academic, who asked for anonymity for fear of retribution.
"My husband was
finally called in to have a meeting with a Riyadh Governorate official who told
him that a new law was going into effect that would force all discussion groups
in private homes who have guest speakers to be registered with the Ministry of
Interior," she says.
Not only will these
discussion groups apparently have to be registered with the government, but
each may have to apply for permission
from the appropriate ministry depending on the topic being discussed, according
to this academic. (more)
This type of repression,
I assume, would never happen in a country which claims that its opening up for
reform and citizen participation in policy making. No matter how you look at
it, spying on and controlling what people do in their own homes is simply an
infringement on the dignity and basic rights of citizens. Now this is no longer
just an issue of freedom of expression alone, but also the internationally
recognized right of free assembly and living freely without awaiting the
approval of a patriarchal government that believes it owns its people from head
to toe. So, here it is, I am fed up with this game of cards the government is
playing with its so-called reform agenda. Once in every blue moon they throw
a card which outlines actions permitted in this game, 10 days
later they lay down 10 cards which lists all the forbidden actions that everyone
should abstain from and would lead them to trouble (from harassing bloggers to
haphazardly shutting down internet forums and canceling cultural events and the
list goes on). So, dear government, for the sake of credibility, let's lay down
the rules clearly once and for all because as habitual liars you have lost all
Everyone who read this
ground-breaking-news was so delighted:
of men and women is not correct"
- Statement by Prince
Nayef, interior minister in the Fourth Saudi Media Forum in Riyadh
But, what does this
statement really mean? Are we going to wake up tomorrow and find our 8th
graders, boys and girls, co-existing in one classroom? Does it mean that music
and dvd stores are going to take down that degrading board which hangs on its
entrance and reads: "no women are allowed"?
Are you kidding me,
coming from this source, this statement means nothing (read Ahmed's post which clarifies the story). It
actually shows how eager Arabnews is
for reporting on some promise of change, even if it is just a mirage. Just
to be realistic: Segregation is alive and well in so many parts of the country
so don't get your hopes up.
Although I should know
better, I am still baffled when I read about Fatwas by so-called
Salafi-Wahhabi shaiks permitting the use and abuse of women for men's pleasure
(reinforcing the prevalent concept of women as disposable objects) . Al-Watan
newspaper is reporting a session by a Shikh called Al-Mutlak, who is a member
of the committee of senior scholars in Saudi Arabia, where he addressed Saudi
students who are about to leave for school abroad and gave them a bunch of
religious advice (Arabic). So,
among other things, this guy sanctioned marriage with the intention of divorce.
And it doesn't stop here, according to Al-Mutlak, these men don't have to
inform the women they choose for their sexual pleasures of this intention.
What does that mean?
Simple: Young Saudi men
(who obviously have uncontrollable needs) can get married to women who they
meet abroad and stay with them until they are done with school and after that,
all they have to do is say the magic words: You are divorced.
This, mind you, is
coming from a Sunni Salafi scholar, who, in his own tradition, considers Zawaj Al-Mutaa (Temporary
marriage allowed in Shiitism) to be a sign of all that is evil (zina -extramarital
sex) and use this difference between the two sects as a way to tarnish Shiites.
So, Shikh whatever your
name is, what about me, a woman studying in the US, am I allowed to get
married with the intention of divorce? Or is this newly acquired right reserved
only for men as everything else in your customs?
Saudi government is not keeping up with the development and maintenance of
viable living conditions in big cities, that is well known to say the least. To
give you an example of genius planning, the Jeddah municipality is planning to
move the livestock
market next to a sewage dump. So, it doesn't come as a surprise to read news like this.
Egyptian blogger Abdel Kareem Suleiman (pseudo name:
Kareem Amer) was sentenced
yesterday for four years in prison for the crime of insulting the president and
inciting hatred of Islam.
After such a sentence,
Arabs still wonder why they are at the bottom on the humanity list? I am
telling you people, we are nothing more than a property of the state and the
religious institutions, put your head down, walk straight and stay silent or you will face the consequences. And for people such as Kareem, he will remain a symbol
of courage in the face of intimidation and despotism. This is not the
end of the story for him for sure.
Other than being hand
picked by the government for some official posts and the powerless shura
council, Saudis have no venues for political participation. However, since the
beginning of the 1990s Saudi citizens started petitioning the government for
reforms, transparency and the establishment of independent civil society
institutions. A new petition circulating on the Internet is echoing the events
of 2004 when signatories of an earlier petition were rounded up from their work
places and houses and imprisoned for the sole purpose of asking for their
legitimate rights. The February Petition, as it is called by some, was
published few days after the government arrested
10 reformers, some of them signed the petition before they were sacked by
the secret police.
This, I guess, answers
the question proposed by this post, do Saudis have right to ask for rights and freedoms? well, the answer should be yes, any citizen must be allowed to activly participate in the development of her/his country, but in the grim reality of Saudi Arabian authoritarianism the answer is: No
+ The text of
Constitutional Reform Petition معالم في طريق الملكية الدستورية (Arabic)
(I don't think that any English version exists yet, if so please let me know
and I will post it here)
want to know how did somebody as ignorant as this guy got
elected? I am going to excuse him though since he was exhibiting culture sensitivity
and didn't mention milking chicken, riding giant desert lizards, drinking cactus juice, and living in shacks made of camel skin and goat gut. Genius, I must say! (P.S. I knew that nothing good was going to come out of his mouth when he started saying: A---y---r---a---q)
I don’t know when, and
if, Saudi wahhabis will realize that most of the Muslims beyond the borders of
the holy kingdom (and even many within) look down upon their teachings and
consider them to be radicals who don’t represent their religion. I have heard
many stories here in the US about Saudi funded Imams who preach the very much despised version of Islam and the revolt against them from other Muslims. Here is a story from Australia about
breaking the hegemony of wahhabi teaching's in some mosques:
CANBERRA'S peak Islamic body has
appointed a new imam for the capital amid claims the Saudi Arabian Government
is dividing the local Muslim community through controversial payments to
religious leaders… more.
share important values after all: Both Saudi
and Iran are
notorious for locking up reform and human rights activists within the
vicinities of their respective countries. It is a simple strategy that works
well for both: If you are a reformist then you better be willing to give up
your right to leave the country. Come on now, this is a big
sign from God almighty that both Saudi and Iranian governments should be friends
instead. Don't you agree?
official Saudi News Agency (aka mouth piece of prince nayef) reported that the government, in its efforts
to crackdown on terrorists, arrested 10
men (9 Saudis and one foreigner) in Jeddah and Madinah for allegedly
funding “suspicious bodies” and “luring Saudi citizens.”
lawyer of the 10 detainees, Bassim Alem, said that they have no
link to terrorism and that they are reform activists who were recently
warned by the Interior Minister to halt their activities and petitions. Alem
named five of the detainees: Sulaiman Rushoudi, Essam Basrawy, Abdel-Rahman
al-Shimary, Abdelaziz al-Khuraijy and Mousa al-Qarny.
is reporting that the Saudi government is not issuing any information about the identities of the
suspects. BBC’s Middle East analyst is saying that
some Saudis suspect the terrorism charges are a pretext and that they were
arrested for their political beliefs.
Just to put things in to
context, one of the alleged terrorist funders, lawyer and human rights activist,
Essam Basrawy was one of the defenders of Ali Al
Domaini and other reformers who were sentenced for 9 years in prison for engaging in reform activities and signing a
petition calling for the constitutional monarchy back in 2004. Al Domaini was later
released by King Abdullah after his succession. This should give us an idea about the type of people who are accused of terrorist activities.
Update,February 7: While the Saudi Media is
shamefully silent (as usual), more Saudi bloggers are questioning the motives
behind these arrests.
to know the facts involved in this case, if those individuals are funding
terrorism then proof should be established. Arbitrary detention, damaging the
reputations of well known activists and the misuse of power can no longer be
tolerated. Please write and share.
to the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 2
million Iraqis have fled Iraq
and now are refugees in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon
amounting to " the Middle East's largest refugee crisis since the
in 1948." Now, Jordan
along with the rest of the receiving countries are putting tighter controls and
refusing to take more refugees because of the fear from sectarian violence spilling into
their own backyards, the economic burdens and, of course, because “the Iraq story has to be a success story.” I have a question about the role and level of commitment of Gulf
Countries (i.e. Saudi, Kuwait, UAE,
etc.). Is any one of these big-mouthed big-hearted countries
interested in providing shelter to fleeing Iraqi families?
in Saudi caught
a man attempting to smuggle weapons into the Grand Mosque in Mecca (and for an extra
dramatization, he also wore a fake suicide belt). Although the identity of this
person has not been revealed yet, this incident is definitely sounding like a Juhaiman
type of an attempt to take over the grand mosque and cause bloodshed and great harm. Who is
behind this? And seriously, have these Islamists/Wahhabi/Salafi/Jihadi groups
(or whatever you want to call them) completely lost their minds?
In addition to preventing the death of a woman, an abortion may be obtained in
cases of rape or incest, but the
victim must report the rape to the police within 50 days, the physician must
obtain a copy of the report record, and the victim must provide either the name
and last known address or a description of the alleged rapist
to law enforcement. Furthermore, the physician would be required to take blood
samples from the woman and the fetus to be submitted to law enforcement.
I apologize for not posting for the last couple of weeks. I have been overwhelmed by some matters that I need to take care of. In addition to stressing out about my own personal and school related issues, the news that has been flying around lately about Saudi Arabia’s possible involvementin Iraq are quite disturbing (got to make use of acquired weapons right?). The so-called increasing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia are self-inflicted and made possible through an unimaginable amount of greed and sick desire for territorial, economic and religious expansion from both sides. In addition, the dosage of Sunni is superior to Shiite and Shiite is superior to Sunni poison, abundantly injected into the minds of our populations, is at an all time high. How did we reach this level? What is it that we can do to stop this insanity? Or is it even possible?
think it is too late for this: I am collecting news articles and reports about Saudi Arabia during the year 2006 for a post
(or a series of posts) which summarizes some of the important happenings in Saudi Arabia in 2006. So if you think that
there is a certain incident, person, or information which deserves to be on
this list, please email it to me or post it in the comment section.
reading many posts which proclaim that Saddam was a martyr, a hero, a lion, and
a symbol of courage, I am inclined to say that such persons deserve to be
treated as a property and stripped out of their dignity because they don’t have
one to begin with.
about the execution itself, Sandmonkey
hit the nail right on the head!